Nepenthes – Design meets sustainability

During a lifetime we consume nearly 500 bottles of shampoo. Triple the amount if you use conditioner and shower gel as well.

Image of the Nepenthes bottle

We are using a huge amount of packaging. Although an increasing number of people are starting to leave their packaging for recycling, this is a very resource-intensive area. The beauty industry manufactures thousands of bottles each day, which after they have been used, are thrown away. This is an industry that has a lot to gain from being integrated into a circular economy.

Sustainability issues are a growing problem for the cosmetics sector, and brands begin to realize that they need to review this area to reduce their environmental impact. And now it seems like they can get help with the work thanks to Marilu Valente, an Italian designer and eco entrepreneur who works to develop the design of skin care packaging.

Marilus’ experience in the field of sustainable design led her to rethink the entire life cycle of these products. Traditionally the cork, bottle and label are made of three varieties of plastics. Marilu began to think about the possibility of using only one type of plastic for the whole bottle. This was the background for her question that led to the innovative design where the bottle and lid on the bottle became one. The shape is inspired by Nepenthes, a carnivorous plant whose walls can be clamped together to close the hole.

Illustration of the Nepenthes bottle

This design gives a whole new experience to use a bottle. The shape is appealing to both the eye and the feeling, and with beautiful shape, you do not want to throw it away immediately when it’s empty. And when it’s empty, you can easily open the bottle at the bottom to get any leftovers and then fill it with something else.

Sustainable packaging is a growing market where we hopefully will see more innovative solutions henceforward. In Marilus example we can see how industrial and product design plays an important roll in the shift to a more sustainable consument behavior.

Image of the Nepenthes bottle in use


About the design firm Merged Vertices

This bottle is part of an entire collection by Marilu Valente. See more of her work at the sustainable design firm Merged Vertices. Taking inspiration from Nature, they re-design objects used everyday, making our daily habits more sustainable. Design is used as a tool for tangible changes towards a circular economy. Visit their website